Shades of jazz in Hua Hin

music May 02, 2018 10:02

By The Nation

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Hua Hin International Jazz Festival 2018 returns to the popular resort on the Gulf of Thailand on May 18-19 on the theme “Open to the New Shades”.

“This year, the festival will once again help to underline the positioning of Hua Hin as a music city. At the same time, it will highlight various aspects of TAT’s latest ‘Open to the New Shades’ marketing concept that encompasses 

 ‘Gastronomy Tourism’, ‘Arts and Crafts’, ‘Nature’, ‘Culture’ and ‘Way of Life’, all of which are available in this royal seaside resort,” Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor of TAT’s marketing communications, told reporters during the recent press conference. 

The annual Hua Hin International Jazz Festival is prominently featured on calendar of music events in Thailand. Over the years, the two-day event has been inspiring tourists and jazz lovers, both Thai and foreign, to visit Hua Hin for a trip that combines live jazz performances, local experiences and natural beauty.

This upcoming jazz festival features international and local jazz artists and performers in other music genres spread over two stages. The Beach Stage is, as usual, the main stage while the Open Stage will host will present newcomers from various genres including newcomers and bands playing other genres, among them Funktion, Sax Pack Girl, and Sincharoen Brothers. 

The main stage will feature The Sound of Siam led by Thailand’s premier saxophonist Koh Mr Saxman, British jazz-funk band Shakatak, Japan’s jazz-fusion outfit Dimension, American jazz pianist John Di Martino, French jazz blues artist Nina Van Horn, Swedish guitar duo Ulf and Eric Wakenius, Brazilian bossa nova stars Veronica Nunes and Ricardo Vgot, and Austria’s jazz diva Simone Kopmajer.

British crossover jazz, funk, and pop outfit Shakatak is a sophisticated ensemble who has enjoyed a long career. With a sound steeped in contemporary jazz and R&B, they found success with both instrumental albums and pop vocal productions. Their hits include “Livin’ in the UK”, “Brazilian Dawn”," “Easier Said Than Done”, and “Watching You”. In 2010, they celebrated their 30th anniversary and marked the occasion a year later with the release of “Across the World”. 

Dimension, formed in Tokyo in 1992, has released 26 albums of original work over the last 20 years, and they have performed at the Tokyo and Seoul jazz festivals. 

New York-based jazz pianist, arranger and producer John di Martino has been described as a “shape-shifter” for his creativity across musical genres. He is a sought after musical director who has accompanied Jon Hendricks, Keely Smith, Billy Eckstine and Janis Siegel.

Nina Van Horn started as a classical dancer and decided to become a country singer while living in Texas. Her adventures lead her to New Orleans where she found her real interest in blues. 

Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius was introduced to the jazz world as one of the members of the last Oscar Peterson Quartet. Blending his incredible rhythmic feel with a lyrical touch, Wakenius rocked Scandivania with his guitar duo Guitars Unlimited, which he founded with Peter Almqvist. In Hua Hin, he’ll be performing with his son.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, singer Veronica Nunes, daughter of a classical pianist, grew up in a musical environment listening to traditional Brazilian styles such as samba, choro and classical music. In 2013, she released her debut album, “Pra Fugir da Saudade” , in collaboration with the Brazilian guitarist and composer Ricardo Vogt.

Austrian jazz vocalist Simone Kopmajer sings in flawless English and has performed in Thailand several times over the last decade. 

Entry is free. Check programme details at